Pedestrians and bicyclists will soon find it easier – and safer – to get around downtown Oswego.
Newly installed traffic signals are set to be turned on July 27 as part of a $1.3 million project.
“We still have a couple of minor parts that will get installed later once they arrive, but the signals will be operational,” Oswego Public Works Director Jennifer Hughes said during her report at the July 18 Oswego Village Board meeting.
Hughes said the signals should be turned on by 3 p.m. that day. In April, the village launched a project to put traffic signals on Route 34 (Washington Street) at the busy intersections of Main and Harrison streets.
“This is a really big accomplishment that we’re happy to see finally get done.”— Oswego Village Administrator Dan Di Santo
The project includes pedestrian signals and improved pedestrian ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The traffic signals will be synced with the railroad signals to ensure adequate time for vehicles to clear the tracks as trains approach.
“The signals are actually connected to the existing signals at the Village Hall, at Madison and Washington streets and at the five corners intersection,” Hughes said, in answering a question about if the new traffic signals will be timed. “So they will all be integrated. The new signals will be controlled by cameras to measure the traffic that is coming through. The signals are also tied to the railroad crossing, so when a train approaches, the signals will change so that any traffic that is sitting on the tracks will be cleared out.”
Oswego Village Administrator Dan Di Santo noted the project has been 25 years in the making.
“This is a big deal,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of accidents and injuries there. … This is a really big accomplishment that we’re happy to see finally get done.”
Currently, flashing beacons alert vehicles to pedestrians in the crosswalk at Main and Washington streets, and Oswego police patrol the stretch of Washington Street through downtown to deter speeders.
The highway has been the scene of frequent traffic accidents, including a fatal crash involving a pedestrian in 2018.
“First, we had to convince the Illinois Department of Transportation that the signals met the warrants to be installed,” Hughed said. “The warrants are basically a set of criteria that establishes when you can install a traffic signal. We had to do traffic counts and pedestrian counts. … As our downtown becomes more vibrant and we anticipate more pedestrians, it’s even more important than ever that we protect the pedestrians and make it safe for them.”